Waldlaw Blog

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Why Are Folks Still Quoting This Guy??

In Monday's San Francisco Chronicle, there was a front page article titled: "S.F.'s same-sex couples asked to adopt foster kids." The article reported that the San Francisco Department of Human Services has this week started a campaign to recruit gay and lesbian couples and singles to adopt children out of the foster care system -- especially teens, who are generally particularly hard to place in permanent homes. The article also noted that this campaign comes just two weeks after the evangelical Christian group Focus on the Family began a drive to recruit more Christians as adoptive parents; and, I note, just days after I noticed that one of my favorite local adoption agencies -- Adopt International -- has added a call for more African American adoptive parents -- and more parents of any race willing to adopt African American children -- to their website. The bottom line is that we have a foster care crisis in this country, with approximately 500,000 children currently in foster care nationwide. We need more adoptive homes of all kinds for these children, to give them a chance to grow up in permanent, loving families. I frankly support all efforts to recruit more adoptive parents, as long as these efforts remain focused on the needs of the foster children available for adoption and not the needs of the groups doing the recruiting. African American, gay, Christian or all-of-the-above, any stable individual or family willing to take a child out of the foster care system should be applauded. That said, I was shocked and horrified to find the Chronicle article quoting Paul Cameron. Paul Cameron is a nut. He is such a nut, that he actually has been repudiated by Focus on the Family. He is such a nut that he and his utterly fabricated "research" have been featured in an article in the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report, a periodical dedicated to monitoring hate groups and extremist activities throughout the United States. He is such a nut that he has been thrown out of both the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. He is such a nut that he reaches "scientific" conclusions like (my personal favorite) his recent conclusion that lesbians are 300 times more likely to die in car accidents than heterosexual women. (????) So what is the San Francisco Chronicle doing quoting this guy??? I am not so self-righteous as to believe that there are no intelligent, well-informed people out there who -- based on their deeply-held religious beliefs -- sincerely believe that foster children should not be placed in gay homes. I fiercely disagree with these folks, but I am prepared to respect them for their beliefs, as I hope they will respect me for mine. But Paul Cameron?? He is a demagogue with no professional credibility or ethics who has made insane and damaging conclusions about gay people -- such as his widely-reported conclusion that the average life-span for gay men is only 43 years -- and has made a name for himself spouting this garbage around the country. No self-respecting scientist or academic would use him as a source of information -- so, I ask again, why does the San Francisco Chronicle?? Frankly, it is time for mainstream media to hold right wing extremists to the same standards as they hold the rest of us. Do a little fact checking. Check on the credentials of "experts" before quoting them. Don't just use the most inflamatory material you can find without making sure it has some basis in reality. It doesn't seem like too much to ask, does it? Interestingly, I was getting ready to write this on Tuesday, but got caught up in work (oh yeah, that) and didn't get time until today. Today, when I went to look at the article about same-sex adoptive homes on SFGate (the on-line version of The Chronicle), the article had a BIG disclaimer: "CLARIFICATION: In an article that ran on Page 1 on Monday about San Francisco's campaign to get more gays and lesbians to adopt foster children -- as well as an opposing evangelical campaign led by Focus on the Family to get more Christian families to adopt -- the Chronicle quoted Paul Cameron, director of the Family Research Institute. The article should have noted that Cameron, who believes gays make unfit parents and self-published dozens of articles he said were based on his research, was expelled from the American Psychological Association in 1983 when he refused to subject his work to peer review. The article also should have reported that his Family Research Institute was named a hate group in 2006 by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Writings by Cameron, who split with Focus on the Family many years ago, are still relied on by many conservative Christians." I guess I wasn't the only one offended by their use of Cameron as a source for the article....


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